Kurt Nichol is the Team Manager for KTM in the World Motocross Grand Prix Series.
TransWorld Motocross: You are an ex-racer, so have you raced Hawkstone before?
Kurt Nicol: Yes, many many times.
TWMX: What do you think of the track, as in, how was it then and how is it today?
KN: It is very similar today as it was in our races as well. It is a very good motocross track, it’s heavy today because it’s early in the season, and for early season racing it is excellent.
TWMX: Why do racers come here for the Hawkstone International?
KN: For that reason. Everyone’s looking for good tracks, good opposition and well-organized races on tracks you can still ride on at this time of year. Hawkstone fits the bill. That’s why everyone comes here, or, why a lot of people come here.
TWMX: Who do you think is going to be the biggest competition in the Open Class and also in the 125’s? I know that Marc de Reuver pretty much cleaned up at Arnhem and everyone wants to know about the GP’s. Who are going to be the big players, now that they’ve “merged” the Open class and the 250’s.
KN: They haven’t actually merged the classes, they’ve just allowed 450’s into the 250 class. The 500 class still exists. In the 125 class the only serious opposition I think will come to our factory riders is Maschio again, the World Champion from last year, and the 250 class will be Smets, Everts or Pichon, one of those guys will be World Champion. They won’t be the top three, there will be other people who will get in there, but the World Champion will come from one of those 3.
TWMX: Have you seen any racers last year that looked like they will be up-and-comers or any dark horses?
KN: Not this season, no. This coming season, not for a championship title. It’ll rest between those guys. I mean, there are, you know, some potentially good guys like Ben Townley, I think who will be very strong, if not this year, certainly next year, Tyla Rattray… these are 125 guys I’m talking about. Then in the 250 class, like I said, will be between those three but there is always a possibility that a guy like de Reuver or Ramon will move up to 250 next year and jump in there.
TWMX: Obviously everyone wants to know about Dorna quitting, and cutting down to 12 rounds, possibly cutting Rushmoor completely, what is your opinion?
KN: Rushmoor is cancelled as far as I am concerned because it’s not on the schedule anymore and the schedule’s done at the congress, that’s done. Obviously, Dorna’s not making money out of motocross and therefor they’ve decided to quit and cut their losses. I expect there’ll be some sort of transition period coming up and hopefully it will work out for the better in the end.
TWMX: Do you see the format change back to what it was before or will it continue the way it has?
KN: I expect to see format changes, I would expect in the future to see a return to, in some shape or form, a format of 2 races in the main class, I wouldn’t expect to see the GP’s split up, but obviously I don’t know. I don’t even know who’s the new partner who’s going to buy the rights. But I’ll expect that they’ll concentrate on getting spectators back and that’s the way to go.
TWMX: Thank you very much, I do appreciate your time.
KN: Thank you.